Spring water levels of Lake Huron highest since 1998

Trend expected to continue through 2015

LAKE HURON—The news continues to be positive on the water levels front for Lake Huron—a far cry from this time only a few short years ago.

The Expositor spoke with Environment Canada’s Derrick Beach Friday who reminded this newspaper that the Lake Huron water levels came back to average levels after a time of record lows in September 2014 and have risen ever since. An unseasonably cool and wet summer last year started the rise, which didn’t stop—Lake Huron skipped its usual seasonal decline, which, on average, begins in July.

There were some slight dips in levels this winter, Mr. Beach explained, but levels have been back on the rise since March, slightly slower than average but above the period of recorded data (96 years) nonetheless. “The cold winter seemed to have kept water levels more or less stable,” he said. “This really sets us up nicely to continue (the rise) right through the summer.” (The period between January 2014 and December 2014 saw the largest rise in levels for Lake Huron in 96 years; the water rose 96 centimetres in that period of time.)

In April, water levels sat 46 centimetres higher than in April of 2014, 15 centimetres higher than the 96-year average.

This has been a largely dry spring, which is also reflected in the numbers, Mr. Beach explained. “The increases we’re seeing now are slightly below average, especially compared to last year.” (Last year saw a high spring runoff coupled, due to plenty of winter snow and ice, with a rainy spring to make levels rise dramatically.) As of Friday, the lake continues to rise, but is still slightly below the average climb for this time of year, he added.

However, even if Lake Huron faced an extremely dry summer, “dry levels still wouldn’t pull it down below average,” Mr. Beach observed.

If Lake Huron sees an average amount of summer precipitation this year, Mr. Beach anticipates Lake Huron could see water levels rise between 20 and 30 centimetres above last year’s numbers.

“Even with dry weather, we’re still looking pretty good,” he reiterated.

The last time Lake Huron reached above-average levels for its monthly comparisons, as was the case in April and now, likely, May, was in December of 1998.